The DC Universe Continues to be Plagued With Controversy and Allegations Behind the Scenes
As long as Zack Snyder's Justice League has existed, there's been behind-the-scenes drama about Zack Snyder's Justice League. Director changes, rewrites, extreme fan reactions, all that. (It's enough that we've written an entire recap of the Justice League making-of timeline, from its 2017 release to the upcoming Snyder Cut on HBO this year.) Though, there's one storyline in this saga that's risen well above debates over deleted scenes—and it's centered around actor Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in Justice League.
Some background: On July 1, Fisher tweeted allegations that Joss Whedon (who replaced Snyder as the Justice League director when he left due to a family tragedy) was abusive and unprofessional on set. He wrote, "Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable. He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Accountability>Entertainment." At the time, Whedon declined to comment and Justice League producer Jon Berg said it was “categorically untrue that we enabled any unprofessional behavior.” This past summer, WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into the Justice League set that led to "remedial action." The statement went without further explanation from the company, and no punitive actions were specifically cited. At the investigation's end, Fisher said he wouldn't appear in any DC film while its president, Walter Hamada, was in charge, and promised there would be "more soon."
He wasn't kidding. On Wednesday night, Fisher tweeted a lengthy statement that claims he was removed from the cast of The Flash, which is set to debut in 2022. In the statement—which we'll break down shortly—the actor details the extent of Cyborg's involvement in The Flash and accuses DC Films President Walter Hamada of undermining the Justice League investigation. On Thursday morning, WarnerMedia released its own statement backing Hamada—furthering a conflict that feels like it's only just getting started.
Fisher's Wednesday statement is a lot to unpack. It starts with Fisher writing that Warner Bros. removed him from the cast of The Flash—which he claims was "much larger than a cameo." Then, he claims that Hamada's alleged interference with the Justice League investigation was to protect former DC Films President Geoff Johns. In the rest of the statement, Fisher details his repeated attempts to escalate his allegations of misconduct on the Justice League set ("blatant racism" amongst the claims) and accuses Hamada of repeatedly downplaying those claims. (In an interview with Forbes, Fisher alleged that “Prior to Justice League’s reshoot process, blatantly racist conversations were had and entertained —on multiple occasions—by former and current top-level executives at Warner Bros. Pictures.”) Fisher concludes by stating his willingness to submit to a polygraph test to support his claims, as well as his goal to expose Hamada and protect those who partook in the Justice League investigation.
"No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse, racism, and discrimination to be taken up the proper chain of command," Fisher added. "And no one, in any position of leadership, should attempt to dissuade those wishing to report such claims from doing so."
Following Fisher's tweet, both WarnerMedia and WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff issued statements of their own. WarnerMedia's response claimed that Fisher was offered a role in The Flash—but the production moved on after the actor wrote that he would not participate in any Hamada-backed project:
"As has been previously stated, an extensive investigation was conducted by an outside law firm, led by a former federal judge who has assured WarnerMedia that there were no impediments to the investigation. Last summer, Mr. Fisher was offered the opportunity to reprise his role as Cyborg in The Flash. Given his statement that he will not participate in any film associated with Mr. Hamada, our production is now moving on. Warner Bros. remains in business with Geoff Johns who continues to produce Stargirl, Batwoman, Doom Patrol, Superman & Lois, and Titans for the studio, among other projects."
As for Sarnoff, she outright supported Hamada, claiming that he did not interfere with the Justice League investigation:
"I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation. Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation's process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity. As I said in Walter's recent deal extension announcement, I'm excited about where he's taking DC Films and look forward to working with him and the rest of the team to build out the DC Multiverse."
With WarnerMedia and Sarnoff's statement's coming just this morning, as well as The Flash's production ramping up, this likely won't be the last we hear of this ongoing situation—we'll keep you posted as it continues to unfold.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.